Keeping a clean house often feels like a losing battle. After all, there are many surfaces in your home, and all of them attract different kinds of messes. But just because you’re facing a mountain doesn’t mean it’s insurmountable. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you probably can’t rest until you’ve figured out how to conquer the challenge. (Some people like to call this obsessive, but I prefer the word “determined.”)
I was recently reflecting on some of the DIY cleaning hacks, tips, and tricks I’ve learned and passed along, and it occurred to me that while I’ve shared some very helpful information over the years, it’s all scattered in different locations.
To make things easier, I’ve compiled a list of some of my most indispensable cleaning hacks in one central place. Every tip on this list will save you time and effort — no matter what you’re trying to clean! I highly recommend bookmarking this post so you can return to it quickly whenever you have a cleaning conundrum to solve. These tips will come in especially handy when you have guests coming over on short notice.
Without further ado, read on for a roundup of 45 of my best home cleaning hacks. Just make sure to click on the green button below each item on the list to get more detailed instructions for most of our hacks. Enjoy and happy cleaning!
For the kitchen
1. Use lemons to sanitize your garbage disposal.
When garbage disposals get stinky, the odor can overpower your whole kitchen. But who doesn’t love the vibrant scent of fresh lemon? This hack lets you smell that invigorating scent all the time. Even better? It couldn’t be easier. An added bonus? Your garbage disposal won’t just smell better, it will work better, too.
2. Use baking soda and vinegar to unclog your sink.
Anyone who’s been to elementary school, middle school, or high school may recognize this old science fair standby. However, this time you won’t be using it to make a volcano explode. Rather, you’ll be putting their powerful one-two punch to work to solve a common household problem: a clogged or sluggish sink.
3. Clean the inside of your dishwasher.
Your dishwasher works hard to keep your dishes clean but to keep working its best, it needs to be cleaned, too! I’ve got not one, not two, but three hacks that will help eliminate grimy buildup in your dishwasher so it can get your dishes sparkling clean while also eliminating any drainage problems you may be experiencing. The best part? You’ve already got everything you need for this task within arm’s reach.
4. Use Borax to clean (almost) anything.
If you’re not already a fan of Borax, you’ve been missing out. Simply put: Borax is one of the most useful cleaning products around. Check out the link below to learn more about this wonder mineral along with the many ways — 31, but who’s counting? — you can use it around your house! From cleaning your carpets to dissolving sticky messes to deodorizing a mattress, there are near-endless ways to put Borax to work. You can even feed your fruit trees with it!
5. Deodorize your garbage can.
Why settle for a smelly garbage can when you can eliminate those odors completely with homemade deodorizing disks? A fabulous fix for stinky trash cans, diaper pails, and litter boxes, these quick-to-make, easy-to-use disks get the job done with minimal effort. And did I happen to mention they’ll leave your home smelling fresh and clean — in the scent of your choice, either lavender or lemon — for an entire month?
6. Clean and sanitize your cutting board.
Regardless of the material your cutting board is made of, it’s important to keep it clean and sanitary. This easy hack uses soapy warm water and lemon halves to sanitize plastic surfaces while removing lingering odors.
7. Get the crusty gunk off your oven racks.
Oven racks accumulate all kinds of crusted-on mess and greasy gunk. While cleaning your oven racks can seem like an overwhelming task, there’s actually a secret to it that couldn’t be easier: Use a few dryer sheets. (Before you laugh, give it a try — I promise it really works!)
8. Clean the inside of your oven (the easy way).
Of course, it’s not just the racks that need cleaning; the inside of your oven needs cleaning, as well. If you’ve ever spent hours scrubbing the inside of your oven in an attempt to get it clean, this may well be one of your least favorite household cleaning tasks. The best part? Most of the work takes place overnight while you sleep.
9. Clean your stove burner pans without scrubbing.
Cleaning stove burners and burner pans is one of the most frustrating kitchen cleaning tasks. Until now, that is.
10. Use simple ingredients to clean your glass stovetop.
Glass cooktops look stunning — until they’re dulled by the grime that accumulates from everyday use. With this hack, an unlikely ingredient restores glass cooktops to sparkling perfection: steam.
11. Clean grimy kitchen cabinets with two ingredients.
If your house is anything like mine, your kitchen cabinets get a lot of use, leading to the accumulation of greasy gunk on their surfaces over time. There’s a reason why this is one of my all-time favorite cleaning hacks — just two common cleaning ingredients do the trick.
12. Steam clean your microwave.
Sure, you could spend a lot of time and effort scrubbing your microwave clean, but why would you when you can let the microwave do most of the work instead? This brilliant hack creates a steamy environment that frees up food mess for easy cleaning.
13. Use a stockpot to clean the filter in your range hood.
Your range hood has an important job, but it can’t be done if the filter is clogged. This hack teaches you how to remove grease and grime from your filter by boiling it in a stockpot. (Yes, you read that right.)
14. Remove burnt, stuck-on foods from your pots and pans.
Learn 10 tried-and-tested methods for cleaning scorched pans — all personally vouched for by some of my favorite household cleaning gurus.
15. Erase scratches on your dishes.
White dishes have a crisp, clean aesthetic, but they also have a downside: Frequent utensil use can leave them scuffed, scraped, and scratched, causing them to look pretty beat up. A good scrub with Barkeeper’s Friend scouring powder returns them to like-new status.
16. Make cookie sheets look like new.
It may seem like that brown residue on your cookie sheets is here to stay, but this two-ingredient method will have them gleaming as beautifully as they did on the day you brought them home.
17. Pop sponges into the microwave to get rid of bacteria.
Sponges are, well, sponges for bacteria, especially those that are left in the sink. But what if I told you that you could zap away this problem in mere seconds? Just pop wet sponges in the microwave and they’re good to go.
18. Pick up small pieces of broken glass with bread.
Rather than trying to use your fingers for picking up tiny glass shards — ouch! — just grab a piece of bread, press it over the shards, and let it do the work for you. Your hands and feet will thank you!
19. Utilize magic erasers with just about anything.
Prepare to meet your new best friend for cleaning everything from phone cases to permanent marker: Magic erasers.
20. Eliminate odors from your coffee grinder using uncooked white rice.
Even if you love the aroma of coffee, it doesn’t mean you want to smell it all the time. If your coffee grinder has picked up an odor, this trick will have the smell gone in no time: Just grind some uncooked white rice in it.
21. Scrub your cast iron with potato.
It may sound like a prank, but it works! Cast iron pans are wonderful, except when it comes time to clean them. Avoid damaging the pan by using some coarse salt and a potato half as a scrubber. You won’t believe how quickly food breaks up and rinses away.
For the living room
22. Make your own cleaning solution for carpet cleaners.
Store-bought cleaners are expensive. But what if I told you that there was a cleaning solution that’s just as effective as the store-bought kinds, but costs way less to make? There is, and it just might change your life. Dirt, stains, and germs are no match for this homemade cleaning solution made with just a few simple ingredients.
23. Use a fuzzy sock as a Swiffer pad.
One of the biggest mysteries in my house is why so many widowed socks come out of the wash. The good news? This tip gives you a use for them. If you don’t want to fork over the big bucks for pricey pad refills for your Swiffer, you can use a fuzzy sock instead. Just slip the sock onto your Swiffer and swiff away!
24. Steam away tough carpet stains.
Stubborn carpet stains are the bane of many homeowners’ existence. But they don’t have to be with this go-to hack I discovered and am delighted to pass along. All you need is a small amount of ammonia, a spray bottle, and a clothes iron to remove stubborn carpets stains that have been there for months! Tougher stains may take some extra elbow grease, but an immaculate end result makes it well worth putting in the effort.
25. Make your microfiber couch look brand new.
Upholstered furniture is a significant investment. Unfortunately, regular wear and tear can leave your microfiber chairs, couches and sofas with a dirty and dingy appearance. My favorite fix for this problem? A little rubbing alcohol and a scrub brush has them looking as nice as the day you bought them.
26. Use this simple trick to clean your ceiling fans.
Tired of dust flying around your home whenever you switch on your ceiling fan? Many people put off this chore because conventional cleaning methods are so arduous. Not only does this hack take mere seconds to clean each blade, but all you need is an old pillowcase to get the job done.
27. Find the smartest way to clean your window blinds.
The best methods for cleaning blinds largely depends on what kind of blinds you have. From faux-wood to vinyl to vertical, I’ve rounded up the best cleaning tips for several common types of window blinds.
28. Remove candle wax drips from your carpet.
Candle wax and carpeting is not a good combination. But accidents happen, and when they do, it IS possible to remove candle wax from your carpets. You’ll need an iron, lots of newspapers and even more patience, but like-new carpeting is worth the effort. Learn how at the link below.
29. Use Drano to scrub away stains on concrete.
Leaky exhausts and transmissions in older cars can create unsightly stains on the floor of your driveway and garage. But I’ve got a secret weapon in my arsenal that can help you scrub those stains away in a jiffy: household drain cleaner. So grab that Drano and get cleaning.
30. Clean your vents with Turtle Wax.
As it turns out, Turtle Wax isn’t just for cleaning your car. It’s also very effective at removing debris and dirt from your vents. Just apply a small amount, and the dust wipes right off.
31. Deep-clean your combs and hairbrushes.
Cleaning my combs and brushes isn’t the first task that comes to mind when I think of keeping house. However, the truth is that brushes and combs are full of all kinds of nasty stuff, including old hair, dust, dead skin, and product buildup. Without properly cleaning your combs and brushes, you risk brushing all of this gunk back into your hair every time you use them. A simple soak in warm soapy water removes bacteria and other residue for good-as-new hairbrushes and combs.
32. Use a trivet to wash your makeup brushes.
Dirty makeup brushes are incredibly unhygienic, and they don’t work as well as clean brushes, either! They’re also expensive, meaning you want to get the most life out of them as possible. Instead of replacing dirty makeup brushes, use this hack to get them fresh, clean, and ready to work their magic.
33. Clean the plates on your flat iron.
Your flat iron helps you leave the house looking your best every day, and for that, you owe it a debt of gratitude. If you use hairspray during the styling process, however, you’re probably dealing with gunk buildup. Instead of letting it get so gross that you end up tossing it, give my “miracle cleaner” a try instead.
34. Use three simple ingredients to clean glasses and mirrors.
Is there any greater eyesore in a home than smudged, streaked windows and mirrors? Just a few household ingredients will have your glass crystal clear in no time.
36. Clean your computer with vinegar.
Step away from the acetone, ethyl alcohol, toluene, ethyl acid, ammonia, and ethyl chloride. The safest and easiest way to clean your computer screen and keyboard is with a microfiber cloth and some white vinegar. (A cotton swab soaked in vinegar, meanwhile, is perfect for nooks, crannies, and corners.)
36. Clean sneakers with toothpaste.
Working hard and playing hard can add up to some pretty grimy looking tennis shoes. Just grab an old toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste to clean up your kicks in no time.
37. Clean spilled glitter with Play-Doh or Tape.
Any parent whose kids have ever gone through a crafting phase is no fan of glitter. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life discovering it everywhere. Instead, use a ball of Play-Doh to lift it right up. Even better? Turn it into a game and enlist your kids to help.
38. Make your ring shine with gentle ingredients.
Household cleansers contain harsh chemicals that can damage precious metal. The safest way to clean your rings? Soak them in a solution of hot water and dish soap before using a soft toothbrush to brush away any lingering residue.
For the bathroom
39. Get that weird smell out of your bath towels.
I hope you haven’t put away that vinegar and baking soda yet! If your bath towels have been smelling less-than-fresh lately — even after washing — I’ll have you reaching for this cleaning combo yet again. Mildew, as well as residue from commercial or homemade fabric softeners, can affect both the smell and absorbency of your bath towels. Quickly and easily restore their freshness with this easy, three-step cleaning tip. You’ll also find my top towel tips for maintaining your bath towels, including some that might surprise you.
40. Remove limescale and hard water from your shower head.
Hard water and limescale cause unsightly white streaks and a slower flow of water. They can even damage skin and hair. If you’re dealing with these issues, buildup on your showerhead may be the culprit. A quick soak in vinegar makes short work of the problem.
41. Use this secret plumbers’ trick to unclog a toilet.
Have a clog but no plunger? We’ve all faced an unexpected toilet crisis at one point or another. There’s no need to wallow in despair when it happens. Instead, use this three-step process to deal with the situation. One word of advice? Learn it now so you’ll be ready in a pinch.
42. The quick and easy way to keep your shower clean.
You shower more frequently than you clean your shower, right? My shower cleaning hack takes smart advantage of this arrangement. Just keep a scrub brush full of your favorite homemade cleaning solution within easy reach, and give your shower door and stall walls a scrub to remove soap scum, water spots and other junk each time you pop in for a shower.
43. Eliminate water stains with shaving cream.
Water stains are unsightly on shower glass, but it couldn’t be easier to eliminate them. Just apply shaving cream to water stains for 15 minutes before wiping off then prepare to see some serious sparkle.
44. Use a rubber glove to clean up pet hair.
Pets bring a lot of joy into our lives, but they also bring something much less desirable: hair. Keeping your pillows and upholstered furniture free of dog and cat hair can feel like a lost cause, but there’s a simple way to deal with the problem. Just don a rubber glove and drag it across any cloth surfaces to easily remove pet hair. No lint roller or roller sheets required!
For the bedroom
45. Clean and freshen your mattress.
It may not be visible to the naked eye, but all of the dead skin and sweat we leave behind on our mattresses adds up over time. The result? An unsanitary sleeping space and excess wear and tear which can shorten the lifespan of your mattress. Give your mattress a new lease on life with a simple combination of baking soda and natural essential oils.
Tips from Cleaning Professionals
I’m not the only one out there with cleaning wisdom to share. Professional housecleaners, in particular, are fonts of knowledge — and they’re happy to share. Here are five of their best pieces of advice:
1. Don’t forget doormats.
In addition to keeping one inside and one outside, keep in mind that they contribute a lot of dirt in the house and require routine cleaning.
2. Skip the bucket.
Spray bottles don’t spill. Buckets do.
3. Use proper vacuum form.
There’s a right and wrong way to vacuum when it comes to removing dirt. The right away? Vacuuming horizontally first, then vertically.
4. Create a cleaning plan.
Distractions can interfere with even the best of intentions. A cleaning plan can keep you on track and make the process smoother.
5. Clean the toilet daily!
A simple daily swish with a cleaning brush means less hard labor later.
Maintaining a clean house is no small job, but it doesn’t have to be a backbreaking one. These 46 hacks have helped lighten my load, and I hope they’ll lighten yours, too.